Back to the roots

Geez, has it really been 4 months since I posted something? I’ve got a reason all right (I was away from keyboard and camera, doing my compulsory military service), but still, that’s a long time.

And it’s a shame too, because I had so many ideas for a post during these past months! I guess you’ll have to wait a bit longer for these ones… I’ve been on an involuntary abstinence from the camera for two months plus, and I had finally the dry spell broken by an invitation to shoot a theatrical performance for children, that went quite well, the energy I got from all those children had kickstarted my hunger for more once again.
So, I decided to write this blog post, to get things started again, but mainly because I wanted to make a correction on false data given on this blog’s manifesto.

Now, I didn’t lie when I wrote there “I started taking pictures with my mobile phone, a year ago”. Indeed, that was the time when I started taking up photography a lot more seriously. But the truth is, I started taking photos way, way back before. And it’s those kids from the theater that reminded me of it. Back when I was attending elementary (yes, elementary) school, I think the year was 1996, I was 11 years old at the time and my parents had bought me a Kodak disposable camera to take with me on a school field trip. Only thing I can remember from that trip was this (scanned photo prints) :
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We were on a ferry boat, going from Antirrio to Rio, years before the Ch. Trikoupis bridge was constructed, and I remember looking outside the window seeing the sun set behind the (iconic for the area) mountains and thinking, ‘damn I just have to shoot this’.

Many school trips have been made since that one, and I always had a camera with me shooting landscapes and landmarks, while all the other kids were taking pictures of one another.
I specifically remember after one such trip, in the city of Messolonghi, me returning home from the local photography store, just having my photos printed and anxious to show my dad all the nice photos I’ve taken, him scrolling through the album getting more and more dumbfounded, finally saying “You printed 2 rolls of film and you appear in only one picture!?!?” . I guess he thought his money (films+prints) got wasted… heh.

One of the best (and my last with the school, I think) trips, was around ’99-’00, when we visited the very photogenic city of Parga, and my mother was super awesome because she had managed to borrow a Leica camera (possibly an M6 model) from one of her friends for me. Needless to say, I was stoked, immensly happy but also infinitely anxious. I had never used such camera, didn’t know what exposure, f/stop or shutter speed meant, and I was afraid that there was a large possibility of me coming back from the trip empty handed, with either ‘burned’ (over exposed) or ‘dark’ (under exposed) photos. Fuck, I even had to change film reels and I could easily destroy both of them in the proccess, with me having no idea of what to do!
So I got my ass down, and totally sucked in all the knowledge I could find and understand in the few days I had available before the excursion. Imagine my face and happiness when the prints came out ok!

– I took this photo with two different shutters speeds in order to better understand the difference. No Live Preview with a film camera!, so I had to wait to see the results

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– A pier in the city of Parga

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– The city of Parga

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A new world had opened before me! But, it’s been 12 years since then.
What happened in-between?  Why not taking it up more serious then?
Well, skateboarding, for once. A lot of skateboarding. But the photography was always there, accompanying me on my new hobby
-Me with my skate on one hand, after a hard day of skating
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Motorcycling followed, after my many foot injuries from skateboarding forcing me to stop. But the photography was there, underlying, once again.
DSC00245
Only after crashing (and totalling) the bike, and having a rough breakup with a girl, I decided to return to my first hobby, and taking it more seriously, mainly trying to sooth my self and my soul, to get away from it all at that time.
And this calmness, this peace I had found once behind the lens, luckily for me, was still there, it had never left.
What’s more, through practice and studying, I got a lot better in it. Hell, I’m even making money from it now!

But what amazes me, is that, after all these years, now having all this accumulated knowledge, looking at those first photos of the inexperienced 11 year old version of me, is the fact that they seem to be pretty good for a total amateur (well, to my eyes at least), and that the subject matter hasn’t changed much after all these years!
Need I say more? 🙂 DSC_1994
I’m sure that these findings are worth exploring, both from a psychological and a photographic point of view, but enough with the soul searching for one day! I’m just happy to realise where I was and where I am now, as I think of how to move forward from here on. I’ll leave you with a song that’s stuck on repeat in my playlist for 3 days now, quite symbolic title and band name, don’t you think? 🙂


Thank you for reading this far, I hope you got to know me a bit better ( I sure did! 😀 ) going through all this soul-depositing wall of text!
Till next post!
Fotis

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One thought on “Back to the roots

  1. Pingback: On the year that passed, and the one that’s coming | Through the Looking Glass

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